Banker waltzes away with '95 forecasting contest

The Ticker

January 03, 1996|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

HERE ARE the results of our 1995 forecasting contest:

THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE: Last Friday, when the Dow Jones industrial average ended the year at 5,117.12, Barbara Frankovic became our contest winner with her year-end prediction of 4,948 -- made last January, when the Dow was down around 3,860.

Ms. Frankovic, assistant marketing director of Fairfax Savings Bank, told me over the weekend, "So many magazines I read predicted Dow Jones 5,000 that I wanted to come close, but not exact, so I settled on 4,948."

She and a friend will be our dinner guests at their favorite restaurant, the Prime Rib, later this month.

Ms. Frankovic reminded me she tried to teach me dancing, (unsuccessfully, I'm mule-footed) at Arthur Murray's in Towson 10 years ago.

NEXT CLOSEST: Runner-up at 5,357 is Harvey Kasoff, the only forecaster above the final Dow. He will be our lunch guest at Linwood's Cafe and Grill in Owings Mills. His postcard read, "Average stock return in years ending in '5' was about 35 percent."

These 10 next-closest, listed in order, will receive books (a $25 value) about investments. They are:

W. Neal Haynie, 4,859; Stuart Sachs, 4,750; Dennis Benson, 4,716; Meva Stahl, 4,664; Florence Sachs, 4,650; Genevieve Libertini, 4,640; John Yasalonis, 4,639; Bill Cass, 4,625; Joseph Metz, 4,586; Randi Sachs, 4,575.

Of more than 1,100 postcards received, fewer than 50 predicted a DJ close over 4,500.

"EXPERT" RESULTS: In our so-called "expert" category -- bankers, brokers, financial planners, media stars, etc. -- the closest was Rich Dubroff, veteran producer of "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser," with his Dow Jones 4,587 prediction.

The 10 next-closest were, in order: Allan Prell, WBAL Radio, 4,444; Alan Walden, WBAL Radio, 4,420; Manuelle Wasserman, account executive, 4,365; Larry Adam, Dean Witter, 4,300; Barry Saltzman, Gruntal manager, 4,296; Bruce Elliott, WBAL Radio, 4,286; Gail Dudack, "Wall Street Week" panelist, 4,255; Morry Zolet, certified financial planner, 4,250; Mike Meredith, Merrill Lynch, 4,235; and Eddie Brown, financial counselor, 4,225.

All 38 other "experts" guessed lower.

We'll print the 1996 "expert" predictions next Wednesday, when we open this year's readers' contest.

WHAT A YEAR! In 1995, the Dow average began at 3,834.44 and ended at 5,117.12, up 1,282.68 points, or 33.4 percent, the biggest Dow advance in 20 years DJ soared through two "1,000-point" milestones, 4,000 and 5,000, recording a record 69 new highs.

Dow Jones utilities ahead 24.2 percent S&P 500 stocks up 34.1 percent The Nasdaq over-the-counter index (loaded with high-tech issues) soared 39.9 percent Bonds up about 20 percent, income plus gain 30-year Treasury bond yields fell from 7.87 percent to 5.94 percent.

How did you do? Check it out.

MONEY MAILBAG: "Dear Julius: In 1964 you recommended American Home Products, cost me $6,650, now $114,000; Arco cost $5,500, now $75,000; Becton Dickinson cost $8,000, now $175,000. Thank you for nice, steady profits. Sincerely, A. B., Glen Burnie."

AND IN 1996? "More mergers and steady cash flow will boost stocks through June. Second half trickier." (Henry Kaufman, economist.)

"Stocks zoomed in 1995 because interest rates fell, but it will take deep recession [unlikely] to push rates lower. Trouble may lie ahead for stocks." (Sovereign Advisor.)

"Market tone remains positive with S&P 500 and utilities in uptrend." (Peter Dag's Strategy.)

"I'm not convinced the bull run is over yet. Rally has outlived a lot of its leaders." (John Bollinger.)

"Dividend yield on the S&P 400 [the S&P 500 minus banks and financial issues] has sunk to 1.9 percent, an all-time low." (Personal Finance, Dec. 27.)

"Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying don't buy stocks. Of course you should, but you'd be foolish to count on a 10 percent return every year from your stock funds." (Jason Zweig, in Money, Jan.)

"Even the most bullish investment analysts concede the prudence of stock and bond diversification." (Financial World, Jan. 2.)

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